Suzette M. Surkamer, South Arts

TITLE: Executive Director

FUNDING AREAS: Theater, dance, music, literary arts, film, traditional arts

CONTACT: Visit PeopleFinder for email and phone number (paid subscribers only)

PROFILE: Suzette (Susie) Surkamer became executive director of South Arts in December 2012. The press release at the time of her appointment said:

Surkamer spent 35 years dedicating her career to the development of a thriving arts environment in South Carolina. Her work with the South Carolina Arts Commission began in 1974 when she joined the Commission as a dancer-in-residence. In 1994 she became executive director of the Commission. Guided by her vision, the agency earned a national reputation as a leader in arts education reform, rural arts development, design arts and other initiatives.

Surkamer’s work in strengthening partnerships has led to significant service to the arts field. Formerly, she was on the South Arts board for 15 years and board chair from 2002–2004, Treasurer of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters, member of the national Arts Education Partnership Steering Committee, the Coca-Cola Scholarship National Selection Committee, Clemson University President’s Advisory Committee, and the Winthrop University Board of Visitors. Surkamer is currently the Immediate Past President of the board of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies and serves on the board of the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina and the South Carolina Arts Alliance.

In 2006 Winthrop University awarded her its distinguished Medal of Honor in the Arts, and in 2008, the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies recognized her with the Gary Young Award, its highest honor for individual achievement.

Since January 2012, Surkamer has been the membership consultant for South Arts’ ArtsReady project. Surkamer earned a M.Ed. in dance education from George Washington University and a B.A. in dance from the University of Maryland.